How will COVID-19 impact the 2021 McNair Summer Research Program? 

The 2021 McNair Summer Research Program is expected to occur virtually. On-campus summer research may be possible, but is subject to USD policy as informed by state and county guidelines. We will update all applicants as events unfold.

Who is eligible for the McNair program?

Please read through the eligibility section of our website to see if you are eligible to apply for the program.

What if I’m first generation but not low-income?

In order to be eligible student be:

First generation college student AND low-income
Be a member of an underrepresented group within graduate education
Who is considered underrepresented?
Currently, the Department of Education defines underrepresented as "Black, Hispanic, American Indian, Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiians, and Native American Pacific Islanders."
What if I am not sure that I am eligible?
We encourage you to submit an application, all applicants will be contacted via email regarding their application status.
What if I don’t meet the GPA requirements? 
The minimum GPA requirement for a competitive graduate applicant 3.0. However, if you have less than a 3.0 but an overall high major GPA, we encourage you to apply.
What if I don’t currently have 60 units?
You do not need 60 units completed at the time you apply. However, you do need 60 units by the end of the spring semester, prior to beginning the McNair summer research program.
What if I am committed to graduate school, but not sure about a PhD?
You are still encouraged to fill out an application. Our program is designed to expose McNair Scholars to the benefits of a doctorate and prepare them for the application process. 
What if I don’t have a mentor?
You are not required to have a faculty mentor at the time of applying. We encourage students to always make appointments with professors during their office hours. This is a great way to get to know your professors and to also get more out of the classes you are taking. Let your professors know that you are interested in conducting undergraduate research and that you are applying to the USD McNair Scholars Program. We may also be able to help students find a mentor. 
Can I have a job or take courses in the summer?
We cannot accept students who plan on taking courses or working during the summer. Our summer program is similar to a full-time job and requires full commitment to research, attending seminars, and completing assignments.

During the summer term, you will be preparing for the GRE examination, focusing on completing your research project to present at a research conference. It is expected that you will work on your research project about 30 hours per week and attend 9 hours of seminars during the summer.  We ask scholars not to work or to take academic courses during the summer term in order to focus on their research projects.

What if I plan on studying abroad? 

You cannot participate in McNair while studying abroad in the summer. However, once accepted into the program, you may study abroad during the academic year. 

Are there any financial advantages to the McNair program?

During the summer research experience Scholars receive a stipend of up to $5000 and are eligible for paid summer housing. In addition, scholars are eligible for travel funding to attend conferences and graduate school visits. McNair Scholars also receive a partial GRE fee waiver and graduate application waivers. 

How will the stipend affect my financial aid?

The stipend does not affect your financial aid.

Are students from all academic majors eligible to apply?

Yes, we encourage undergraduate students from ALL majors to apply for the program. However, we cannot serve students interested in a MD, JD, or MBA.

What fields of graduate study are supported by McNair?
McNair Scholars can pursue graduate study in any research intensive program. We cannot serve students interested in a MD, JD, or MBA.
How can I apply?
You have to submit an application. If deemed eligible you will be contacted for an interview by the selection committee.
What do I need to do to apply for the McNair Scholars Program?
  • Complete the online application
  • A copy of your family’s most recent tax forms.
  • Please provide a statement that is no longer than 500 words. You should address the following items in your statement:
    • What is your motivation for applying to graduate school?
    • Describe your future education and/or career goals, and explain how participation in the McNair Program is relevant to these goals.
    • Discuss previous research or academic project(s) with significant research components:
      • Issue/question you examined and its significance
      • Methodology